Northern Loop of Yellow River South of Lang Shan Range, China38.2N 103.9E
Here, the northern loop of the Yellow River (Huang He) can be observed as it flows across Inner Mongolia, China. The place where the river curves, near the image center, is part of the district of Linhe, under the administration of Baynnur, south of the Lang Shan Range (visible parallel to the river).
The Yellow River is the second longest river in China and the cradle of Chinese civilization as the Nile is cradle of Egyptian civilization. It originates in Tibet—like the Yangtze, China’s largest river, and the Mekong River—and gets nearly 45 percent of its water from glaciers and vast underground springs of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.
From Tibet it flows for 5,464 kilometers (about 3,400 miles) through Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, the border of Shaanxi and Shanxi, Henan and Shandong before it empties into Bo Hai Gulf in the Yellow Sea.
It is slow and sluggish along most of its course and some regard it as the world’s muddiest major river, discharging three times the sediment of the Mississippi River. It gets its name and color from the yellow silt it picks up in the Shaanxi Loess Plateau .
The Yellow River is a vital to making northern China inhabitable. It supplies water to 155 million people, or 12 percent of the Chinese population, and irrigates 18 million acres—15 percent of China’s farmland. More than 400 million people live in the Yellow River basin. Agricultural societies appeared on its banks more than 7,000 years ago.